Writing a proper review that will serve this product well and gives it the proper attention it deserves is simply impossible.
You might not be a fan of 'cheap' products and might consider them to be badly-built or offer a mediocre sound. But with this one you can never go wrong. For the price you pay, you will get a package of brilliance and beauty -- an instrument with a rich sound that will take you back to the brilliance of 50s' and 60s' vintage Jazz tunes.
First off, I bought this product because of my love for Jazz music and the sound of Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy. Unable to afford a saxophone and not much of a believer of Xaphoon, I decided to buy a clarinet. I chose the cheapest clarinet Thomann had on offer and came to this page. The sound samples on Thomann were promising and the least I could expect was that this product can definitely help me learn the clarinet if nothing else.
The product came in a minimally-designed black carton box showcasing the brand and model of the clarinet. After that you find your clarinet in a very sturdy and good-quality case. That was for me the first amazement because from the first moment I knew that my instrument is going to have a safe home and I can carry it around without worries. Furthermore, if the people at Startone care about producing such a sturdy and nice case for the instrument then they sure must have cared as much about the instrument itself. The case is simply amazing, with a handle to carry it around without worries and even a strap to carry it on your shoulder. But most important of all, Startone has designed a very strong damage-resistant case. For such a low price, this is unbelievable, the case itself is worth a lot. It is designed in such a way that makes you sure your clarinet will stay safe against shakes, damages, and heavy hits. Every piece of the clarinet stays in a fit compartment without any possibility to move around. The case is small and light-weight, and that is enough reason to be happy that you would be able to carry your clarinet with you anywhere you go in a safe package.
You will find two reeds of different sizes in the case and everything you need to maintain the clarinet properly. There is a handy white cloth that helps you clean your saliva/condensate off the clarinet after each use (the white cloth is properly designed that will enable you to run it all across the inner part of your clarinet to properly wash off everything inside) and there is also a nice red microfiber cloth to clean the silver parts if they tarnish after a while.
It is very easy to assemble the clarinet together, but you might want to watch a video online to learn how to properly do that in order not to damage any of the keys and have everything set-up in the right place, but as mentioned, that's an extremely easy job. Be sure to apply cork grease - which is found inside the package - on the wooden endings of each part; that will help you assemble the clarinet much easier the first time, and de-assemble without much effort. Once you have the clarinet assembled, you will be amazed how beautiful and luxurious it looks. It is impossible to believe that you have paid roughly 110 euros for this product. It is worth much more. Everything looks very well-built and then it comes the important part; the sound and playability.
For a beginner of course it was extremely hard at first for me to get a sound out of the clarinet, however after reading a few guidelines and watching a few videos I produced the first few notes.. And the result was mind-blowing. I could not believe what I was hearing. The sound samples on Thomann were really good, but you have to hear this instrument play in reality. I was looking for a vintage Jazzy sound similar to that of Mingus/Dolphy or even the sounds heard in Zorn records. And I am just speechless, this instrument is producing the sounds I really want. It's unbelievable. Once you hit the low-pitched notes (the lower B for example) you will have your mind-blown, the warmness of the tone, the delicacy of the sound, and the richness and loudness, it all makes you fall in love with this product from the very first moment. I was not able to put if after 3 hours of playing the very first day I received it and for a beginner it was not hurdle to practice on it properly
I am more than glad with this product, and I cannot find any defects in it. The sound fulfilled more than what I had initially expected. I will go on learning the clarinet on this product, but I am quite certain that I will never sell this product ever, because I love the sound and I have even used it in my recordings, and it sounds just as great when recorded. It is really a loud instrument and it offers you a beautiful warm sound.
After a few months, whether you play it regularly or hardly ever, and whether you keep it in the case or outside, you will realize that the silver parts have gone yellow (i.e. they have tarnished). Do not freak out, this is something very common with clarinets, and it happens even to the expensive ones. The solution is simple, pick up that red microfiber cloth that comes with your clarinet (found in the case) and easily and gently rub the yellow parts, after a while you will see that your clarinet has gone to its normal state and is shiny once again.
It is important to take care of this instrument. It will last longer and you will always get a good sound of it. Thus, I recommend you to clean it off after each use with that white cloth and clean off all your saliva build up, and every once in a while rub the silver parts with the red microfiber cloth and each time you want to assemble the instrument together, apply the cork grease, it will make the part fit together much easier without any effort. Take care of the instrument and clean it regularly and you will have it last for a very very long time. You will not be disappointed with your purchase.
I have not had the experience to play expensive clarinets, and I am a beginner, but at this very moment I see absolutely no need to buy an expensive clarinet, because this product is doing everything I wanted it to do for me.
Would I recommend this to product to my friends? Undoubtedly!
Would I buy it again? Absolutely. I love this instrument. I love the sound, I love the feel, and it is extremely loud. It comes in a nice sturdy case and it does what I exactly want it to do (i.e. produce a vintage rich warm Jazz sound) and I am regularly using it to on my records. Thumb up for Startone!